Richard Liu has a net worth of 17.1 billion USD (2021) according to Forbes. He founded JD.com when he was 19. The entrepreneur worked part-time at his mother’s bakery shop while he was in high school. His mother, however, was worried about his future plans as the Chinese government wasn’t keen on letting young people work in business.
Liu knew that he would be taken seriously if he were to start his company, and in 1998 he left China and went to study at the University of Minnesota. JD.com became operational in 2000 and gained popularity in 2005 when it became the first Chinese company to ship live pigs online. After a relatively quiet start, the company’s stock price increased by 20% in 2006, before its IPO in late 2007.
The Chinese billionaire owns numerous assets, including JD.com, which is the largest e-commerce company in China, according to Business Insider. He also owns an estimated 19% of the cloud computing business, Beijing-based iJintouch, as well as YY Inc., which he co-founded with CEO Keith Zahlen, and a 6% stake in China-based smart TV firm Oppo, according to Bloomberg.
Richard Liu also owns a 20% stake in a Beijing luxury hotel that opened in 2016, and has become a socialite in China after being snapped up by the likes of Johnny Depp and Kanye West. Liu became China’s youngest billionaire after his company, JD.com, went public on the NASDAQ in 2004.
At the age of 22, he sold his first company, where he was the co-founder, to the investment firm IDG Capital Partners for US$38 million in cash and a 19.9% stake in the business. He continued to work with IDG Capital Partners in China, managing the international Chinese operations of IDG. However, Liu was interested in developing a business model that would allow him to “find or create his idea through his firm.”